Arizona Republican Party (AZGOP) Chairwoman Dr. Kelli Ward spoke on Just the News – Not Noise today about the AZGOP’s complaint rejection by a Mohave County judge.
“I just had a lawsuit. We just had a ruling today, earlier today, from a Superior Court Judge that said that he’s not willing to go to say that it’s unconstitutional in Arizona to have no-excuse mail-in voting across the board. Now, we are planning what we’re going to do next, and we’re probably going to be appealing to a higher court,” said Ward. “Even Democrats way back in the 2005 bipartisan commission stated that mail-in voting is a huge, huge loophole in the process of election integrity.”
Lee F. Jantzen is the judge who rejected the AZGOP’s complaint earlier today.
“Is the Arizona legislature prohibited by the Arizona Constitution from enacting voting laws that include no-excuse mail-in voting? The answer is no,” said Jantzen in his ruling.
“It is important to note what this case is not about allegations of fraud in the voting process,” said Jantzen. “It is not about politics. It is not even about whether the parties believe mail-in voting is appropriate. It is about one thing: Is the Arizona legislature prohibited by the Arizona Constitution from enacting voting laws that include no-excuse mail-in voting?”
Jantzen says the complaint filed by the AZGOP does not have a likelihood of success.
“There is nothing in the Arizona Constitution which expressly prohibits the legislature from authoring new voting laws, including ‘no-excuse’ mail-in ballots,” said Jantzen. “The Arizona Constitution states in Article 7, Section 1 ‘all elections by the people shall be by ballot, or by such other method as may be prescribed by law; provided, that secrecy in voting shall be preserved.’ This language does not prohibit mail-in ballots yet does allow new laws concerning voting to be passed as long as secrecy in voting is preserved.”
Jantzen also acknowledged that the AZGOP showed examples of “bad actors” violating no-excuse mail-in voting laws. He called the examples “concerning,” yet was steadfast that these examples do not address the issue before the court, the constitutionality of mail-in voting.
In May, the AZGOP and Ward submitted a complaint against Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D). The complaint argued that Hobbs has failed her constitutional duty to ensure voting takes place in conformity with “the requirements of Arizona’s constitutionally mandated Australian Ballot System.”
Moreover, Arizona’s system of no-excuse mail-in voting goes against the Arizona Constitution, the complaint alleges. The complaint cited Article 4 section 1 of the constitution’s definition of an official ballot.
“Official ballot. When any initiative or referendum petition or any measure referred to the people by the legislature shall be filed, in accordance with this section, with the secretary of state, he shall cause to be printed on the official ballot at the next regular general election the title and number of said measure, together with the words “yes” and “no” in such manner that the electors may express at the polls their approval or disapproval of the measure,” the Arizona Constitution reads.
One of the AZGOP’s arguments is that under this definition, an official ballot would be distributed and voted at the polls, not via mail.
The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission reported that nearly 90% of the 2020 General Election ballots were early ballots.
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